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Promoting the Use of Relevant Field Trial Data Across Geographies

Overview

Confined field trials (CFTs) are conducted to inform environmental risk assessments that are required by regulatory authorities before genetically engineered crops can be approved and released for cultivation. Many countries expect CFTs to be conducted as a matter of course, even if satisfactory data are already available from trials conducted elsewhere. The scientific basis for requiring duplicative trials is questionable, but policy and perception issues make accepting data from other countries difficult for many regulators.

The primary variable that differentiates CFT locations is agroclimate, which means that data from trials cultivated in like agroclimates should be considered relevant and sufficient to satisfy regulatory requirements, irrespective of the country where the CFTs are conducted.

What We Are Doing

Since the Agriculture & Food Systems Institute’s publication of a conceptual framework for data transportability in the journal Transgenic Research in 2014, it has continued to make significant effort to progress this work beyond theory to practical application. In particular, our Global Environmental Zones (GEnZ) Explorer is a simple-to-use online tool that allows users to visualize agroclimatic zonations and their relationships to CFT locations.

Collaborators & Partners

  • Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA)
  • Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)
  • International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of Edinburgh

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